Christmas music

multicolored Christmas lights decorating a guitar
Chris Combe / Flickr

It happens every year – there’s so much to do in preparation for the holidays that by the time the holidays actually roll around, you’re plum tuckered out. Some wondrous Christmas music can help keep the wind in your sails.

And there is no shortage of wondrous Christmas music. As a special gift for you, I’ve included here some spectacular performances of some of my favorite works of Christmas music. Some are restful and awe-inspiring. Others are exuberant and joyful. And all of them can take your mind off everything that “must” get done, so you can enjoy the season.

Christmas Bachs

Dec 19, 2019
color image of the inside of St. Thomas Church, Leipzig
Kevin Zi-Xiao He /

Trades run in some families like water from leaky faucets. The most famous family of musical tradesmen is the Bach family, which over the span of two centuries – from the 1500s to the early 1800s – produced more than four dozen musicians and composers of note.

That’s a lot of musical DNA.

Jessica Lewis / Pexels

As 2019 draws to a close, the music of Chanukah and Christmas reminds so many of us of our treasured holiday traditions.

We have a full slate of special programs scheduled to air on Classical 101 for Thanksgiving and throughout December, in addition to holiday editions of our regular shows and seasonal favorites throughout the month.

When I was a teenager, my favorite time during the holidays was after everyone else had gone to bed and I could sit up late, with only the twinkling of the Christmas tree for light.

Celeste Boyer Photography /

If the English horn were a singer, it would be one of the great contraltos – Kathleen Ferrier, perhaps, or Marian Anderson.

color photo of Mansfield Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in performance

Imagine, if you can, Christmas without Christmas cookies, or bright lights, or Christmas music.

Jessica Lewis / Pexels

Where did the year go? While December can really pile on the stress with winter weather, holiday preparations, work deadlines and family visits, it’s also the time for some of the most sublime, glorious music in the cycle of the year.

As 2017 draws to a close, the music of Chanukah and Christmas reminds so many of us of our treasured holiday traditions. 

We have a full slate of special programs scheduled to air on Classical 101 this month, in addition to holiday editions of our regular shows.

Classical 101 Holiday Special: Musical Christmas Gifts

Dec 22, 2017
Kristina Paukshtite / Pexels

Christmas mornings are special, and that's why I am so pleased to offer you a few Musical Christmas Gifts under your tree at 8 a.m. Monday, Dec. 25 on Classical 101.

Nick Amoscato / Flickr

As a kid growing up in Louisiana, you never knew whether you’d be wearing shorts or sweaters for Christmas, so it was sometimes difficult to get in the "holiday spirit" you see depicted in cards and commercials. 

No snow-capped trees, no children sledding happily down icy hills — no snow at all, as a matter of fact. We used to spray fake snow on our Christmas tree to create the illusion of winter. I can still smell it.

The one surefire way to make it feel like Christmas was music. Even if the air conditioning was on, you could still plug in the tree lights, crank up the record player (yes, I'm that old) and pretend people were bundled up and bustling around, doing wintry activities.

John Brantley / Flickr

My colleagues and I have each been asked to put together an hour of our favorite holiday music for broadcast during Christmas weekend.

I've never been any good at titles. Left to me, "The Great Gatsby" would have been called "Riding in Cars with Girls" or some such. I couldn't think of a title for Christopher Purdy's Christmas favorites — hmm, maybe that is a title — so Christmas with Christopher will have to do.

You're invited to share some time with me Christmas Eve at 7 p.m. I'll be playing an hour's worth of my favorites. Here, I'll tell you why some of these pieces are special to me.

color photo of clear wine glass and multicolored Christmas lights
BluEyedA73 / Flickr

The days are getting shorter, the cold is setting in and the holiday hubbub is descending on us like the Grinch down hillside in his overburdened sled.

But don’t let the darkness get you down. Join me for the Holiday Happy Hour, Christmas Eve at noon and Christmas Day at 10 a.m. on Classical 101.

color photo of the members of Alphorn Grüezie standing with their alphorns in front of the Swiss clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio
Heather Densmore / Alphorn Grüezie Facebook page

Ohio is not a state known for its mountains. The Hocking Hills, the Appalachian foothills and the state’s other areas of rolling terrain, though lush and beautiful, aren’t exactly the Alps.

But that’s not keeping growing numbers of people around the Buckeye State from picking up an instrument deeply tied to Alpine life, the alphorn, as a musical avocation. And it’s also not stopping Ohio’s premiere alphorn ensemble from appearing as the opening act in the 35th-anniversary performances of Merry TubaChristmas Columbus later this month.

WOSU Public Media

You listen to Classical 101 every day in your car, in the kitchen as you cook, maybe even with your headphones at work. But have you taken part in joining the Classical 101 team to provide music all day, every day?

This holiday season—this Thursday, December 8th, specifically— the Classical 101 team would like to invite you to join in and help give the gift of music... And perhaps even take home a CD or two in return. album cover

What's your favorite recording of Christmas music? We've all got them. I'll share a few of mine, and you can share yours in the comment section below! 


Whether it's music by the Sufjan Stevens or 12th-Century composers from Paris, the music of Christmas has always brought joy, awe, and festivity. Likewise, it is in celebrating the rich history of the music of Christmas that we can appreciate how traditions have changed but the meaning of the holiday has remained. Here is a short history of Christmas music from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.